End-of-Day Reunions: They Do Love You Best

End of day reunions

It's never easy to get inside a child's head for definitive answers, but here are some possibilities that may come into play on any given day:

  • Ignoring us may actually be a sign that our child has adjusted well, feels secure at child care, and knew all along that we would return: "I'm glad to see you, but it's no big deal. I knew you'd come back, and so I'll just continue with what I was doing."
  • "Going to pieces" may be a natural reaction to the sight of the person the child is closest to (you!). Sometimes it's hard for a child to be in a group all day, and by the end of the day they are tired and their resistance is low. You are a big deal, almost too big.
  • Children are driven to experiment. Acting out can be a child's way of testing an interesting situation. There are two people (the parent and the caregiver) who set limits and enforce the rules. "Who is in charge?" or, "How do these people work together?" Unable to articulate the question with words, the child may ask the question through behavior.
  • Our child may just want us to stay a while in this place that is special, to be there together.
  • Maybe there is a little unconscious payback and resistance to being forced to suddenly stop an activity in which our child was engrossed. He may be thinking, "I didn't like it when you dropped me off here rather abruptly this morning, so I'm not going to leave easily for you tonight."
  • It’s even possible that your child may be anticipating the hustle and bustle that characterizes the evening routine until bedtime, and is voting with his feet to stay in this child-centered place!

Children are complex human beings. They are instinctive social scientists at every age, using their behavior to experiment with how the world of people works and their place in it. In the process, they will both delight us and push all of our buttons. In the instance of a child care reunion, one thing is certain — you are the ones they love best. They just have a funny way of showing it.

Additional Resources:

Bright Horizons
About the Author
Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
End of day reunions